ABC to Follow FOX and Delay Web Access to Newly Aired TV Shows (Do You Care?)

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ABC’s CEO Bob Iger just told investors that the company will soon be rolling out their own authentication scheme that will delay recently aired TV shows by 8-days to the public, but not to partner cable subscribers. This is a move similar to what FOX implemented on August 15th, but Iger spells the reason out as clear as day. The following comes courtesy of Seeking Alpha:

“The relationship that we have with the distributors is a very valuable one, and it’s one that we aim to respect by both protecting what we currently have and determining or figuring out ways that we can expand on it.”

“Our overall approach of late has been to make deals that increase revenue, while at the same time, protect and respect basically the multichannel or the channel distribution value that we see today. So, we’re looking at deals that are largely library in nature, meaning very little if any content that would be in season, mostly prior season. But also, trying to build into at least some of these deals, some form of authentication, [that] … will allow access to our programming faster or in a more aggressive window, if the customer is a multichannel subscriber.”

“You are right in your assessment that we’ll basically push the window back or make access to the programming more difficult or later, except if customers are authenticated as a subscriber.”

So now the questions is: Do you care? The way I see it… you fall into one of three categories:

1. You’re a cable subscriber already and are quietly pleased that your expensive monthly plan entitles you to early access to content online

2. You’re a person who watches their programming on TV over-the-air for free (a majority of the time)

3. You’re a cord-cutter — with possible OTA access — who watches TV content on their portable device or network connected TV

If you fall into the first slot, this is really no big deal other than the fact that you have to re-authenticate each month with your username and password. But don’t you already do that kind of thing when your browser cookie expires on your favorite websites? If you fall into slot two, you’ll probably be the most affected since you like watching broadcast TV live and the only way you can “catch up” on something you missed is by going online or watching a recording via your DVR. The 8-day window will definitely throw a wrench in the works, being that you won’t get access to last week’s episode until the day after the new episode is shown (ugh).  Lastly, if you’re a “real” cord-cutter (a person who no longer subscribes to cable), show times and must-see TV concepts are meaningless. TV shows are available when they’re available — most often that’s on a predictable schedule.

What do you think? Is this new delay window going to cramp your style and drive you to piracy (i.e. using P2P outlets), like the other pundits assume you will in revolt?

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Filed in: Content Providers, Industry Buzz